Over Ear vs On Ear Headphones – What’s the Difference?

Over Ear vs On Ear Headphones – What’s the Difference?

I can see your potentially confused expression as you ask yourself what on earth the difference could be. After all, don’t all headphones sit over your ears?

I asked the same question when tasked with this particular set of research, and what I found what both surprising and interesting.

There are actually quite a few big differences, and this guide is going to take you through them all so that you get a clearer grasp of what each of them has to offer. 

On Ear Headphones: and All the Perks 

These are a newer and very popular form of headphones that are much smaller than over ear headphones, and these will press on the ears when you put them on – hence the name.

As they do not completely cover the ear, they are pretty good for high-quality sounds as well as being able to talk to friends that you might be out with at the same time. Plus, they are small and compact, which make storing them away pretty easy.

The sound quality for all of these headphones is great, although potentially limited by your budget. They are available in noise cancelling formats so that you can cut the world out and focus on your tunes.

on ear headphones

There are models that are able to drop the bass in such a way that it resonates throughout your very being. It’s perfect for everything from casual listening to true surround sound.

Lightweight and portable, we have already mentioned how easy it is to stow them away when they aren’t being used – just remember where you put them as it can be easy to lose them as well.

They also have a snug fit that means they won’t fall off, but you can rest assured that they remain exceedingly comfortable.

The ear pads tend to be wonderfully soft and squishy for a relaxing touch, to the point you may find yourself forgetting that they are even on.

The only potential downside to these headphones is that they can be a little delicate, and therefore more prone to breaking if they are handled roughly. Their small size means that everything is at higher risk of damage or breaking.

So, to prevent this from happening, make sure you keep them in a protective case to keep them safe while transporting them. 

Over Ear Headphones: and All the Perks 

These are the classics, the reliable model that stands by the phrase “if it ain’t broke” because it has worked faultlessly for so long.

They don’t just cover the entire ear, they also press against your skull, trapping the music inside and creating an experience that is far more immersive.

They are quite a lot bigger than the on-ear headphones, and while this is great for the music, they can be trickier to transport between locations due to the extra bulk.

Overall, over ear headphones have amazing sound quality because of their design and the way they really keep the music with you instead of letting it leak. With these, you can hear explosions behind you in movies.

over ear headphones

You can experience an entire world without having to move as you feel completely involved and as though you are standing in the centre of it all.

Even screaming babies can’t take away from it. Just make sure you still look where you’re going when walking.

However, the main thing with these is not the sound, but the comfort. As they are so big and bulky, you need them to be comfortable when they are being worn.

The ear pads are all-encompassing, soothing your ears with a soft touch, including a very smooth and squishy headband for extended listening. After all, comfort is one of the most important things when you are listening to music because it allows you to do so for longer.

They are made to last as well. They are bigger and bulkier, but this also means that they tend to be more robust as well, so getting knocked around a little in your bag won’t be the end of the world for them.

Of course, the only downside to this is that they can be harder to put away when you aren’t using them because they need more space – meaning you will need to keep them around your neck or find a bigger bag. 

Check out this Wireless Over Ear Headphones - Sony Extra Bass XB650BT Review

Should You Choose Wired or Wireless? 

This is a choice you need to make whenever you find yourself buying a new set of headphones – wired or wireless.

A lot of it is down to personal preference, because there are those that will prefer the direct connection that wired models give them, and others that are more partial to some of the extra features that come with wireless headphones.

Wireless usually means that they have Bluetooth for a strong connection that can even extend to things like answering calls wirelessly as well as a number of controls on the actual headphones to alter volume, the tracks, and other little aspects.

However, there is a risk that the connection could end up dropping or feeling buggy, because it relies on being wireless as opposed to the security of a wired one.

So, best wireless headphones are great to use if you hate cables getting tangled and want an easy connection with fun additional features. However, the wired ones are for you if you want a guaranteed connection and headphones that can still come with some great little features. 

To Conclude 

We hope that this has been useful to you, especially when learning to tell the difference and figure out which set of headphones is going to be right for you.

Each type has so many advantages to them that is may be hard to pick, but we know that you will make the perfect choice with our guide’s assistance.

As always, we love it when you share your thoughts and experiences with us, so make sure that you leave us a message in the comments below telling us what you think of our guide. 

About the author

Tim Rhodes

As well as being Chief editor here at Myaudiosound.co.uk - Dan is a freelance writer and blogger, as well as tech, loves a chilled weekend river fishing with his mates.